The Times (UK) Hit Piece About Human Rights Watch
David Bernstein links today to an article in The Times — a right-wing British newspaper published by Rupert Murdoch — attacking Human Rights Watch. The article is breathlessly entitled “Nazi Scandal Engulfs Human Rights Watch,” which I have to admit piqued my curiousity — until I realized that the “Nazi scandal” concerned Marc Gelasco, a research analyst who resigned from HRW after the organization found out about his hobby of collecting Nazi memorabilia. The ridiculous title tells you all you need to know about the article’s credibility.
But the article doesn’t stop there. It also makes sure to fundamentally distort HRW’s record in an attempt to prove that the organization is anti-Israel:
Every year, Human Rights Watch puts out up to 100 glossy reports — essentially mini books — and 600-700 press releases, according to Daly, a former journalist for The Independent.
Some conflict zones get much more coverage than others. For instance, HRW has published five heavily publicised reports on Israel and the Palestinian territories since the January 2009 war.
In 20 years they have published only four reports on the conflict in Indian-controlled Kashmir, for example, even though the conflict has taken at least 80,000 lives in these two decades, and torture and extrajudicial murder have taken place on a vast scale. Perhaps even more tellingly, HRW has not published any report on the postelection violence and repression in Iran more than six months after the event.
Um, no. As a commenter to Bernstein’s post pointed out, HRW published a “report on the postelection violence and repression in Iran” in February of this year. It has also published literally dozens of various news reports, letters, and press releases condemning the Iranian regime’s response to the elections since June 2009. Apparently, the “journalist” who wrote the article couldn’t be bothered to spend 30 seconds on the HRW website. Much better to distort and trust that most readers won’t know any better. (Which is, of course, the guiding principle of Murdoch journalism.)
The article is no more accurate concerning Kashmir. HRW has published two reports on Kashmir in the past few years alone (see here and here) and at least eight others since 1991 (see here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). My math isn’t very good, but I’m reasonably confident that 10 is greater than four. And, of course, HRW has also published — as with Iran — hundreds of news reports, letters, and press releases concerning Kashmir in the past two decades. I guess those don’t count because they complicate the author’s misleading narrative.
I could go on, but what’s the point? The article is an attempt to deceive, not a genuine effort to have an intelligent debate about HRW. How sad that all of HRW’s good work in places like Iran and Kashmir get drowned out by attack pieces like this one.